On the shores of the St. Lawrence River there lies a secretive biomedical research facility. Within that facility’s deepest recesses are two vampires. One is a ravenous humanoid bat. A true apex predator. The other appears human but is no less dangerous than its monstrous peer.
These vampires have amazing regenerative abilities, enabling them to rapidly heal from the direst of wounds. The facility’s scientists are trying to understand those unparalleled recuperative powers so they might be harnessed and applied to medical science. Their goal is to craft a universal panacea, fashioning medicines from monsters.
Such a therapeutic would have nearly limitless possibilities for treating a myriad of conditions, including wounds, infections, or diseases. Many could be saved. A select few would profit.
Dr. Wil Goggins, an eager research scientist, is thrilled to receive the promotion that grants him access to the mysterious secure areas of the facility. He will soon learn that many dark choices must be made in service of the greater good.
As the scientific teams study the vampires, investigative teams work to find and procure more such creatures. Their efforts will take them to a town in the backwoods of Pennsylvania, where monsters are on the prowl. Although, whether the more fearsome monsters are vampires or humans is far from certain.
Blood is often the price of progress.
I really liked the premise of this book since it sort of falls into the realm of what I do for work, and there were some interesting parallels to real world biotech research laboratories. And the idea of using compounds found in nature (whether plant or animal-derived) has been ongoing for decades.
I thought the portrayal of the vampires was interesting too, though it left me with a few questions as to how it worked, particularly in the case of the “hybrid vampires.” The true vampires were described as being very bat-like, but with some humanoid features, they were intelligent, yet terrifying in a primal, predatory way. The hybrids lacked the bat-like characteristics, but weren’t really human, and the hybrids only became what they were after exposure to bodily fluids from the true vampires.
That led me to speculate that there was an infective component to the vampires’ blood, and viruses were mentioned in passing early on in the book, but it was never confirmed. I also wanted to know how the true vampires came about, since it was clear in the prologue that they were born from seemingly normal human parents. Since this is book 1 in the series, maybe these questions will be answered in later installments.
There are basically three distinct storylines to follow. First, the research facility itself, featuring Wil, one of the scientists, and Patty, a veterinarian, most predominately. Next there’s the field team searching for new leads, who later wind up in a small town in Pennsylvania. Finally, there’s Mabel and her parents. She’s a teenager with a mysterious ailment that no one has been able to diagnose, and both of her parents work at the research facility. Every storyline eventually leads to the central theme of vampires, even though some start innocently enough.
And in classic horror fashion, when things begin to go wrong, they go very wrong.
The one thing that I struggled with was the sheer number of characters involved. Sometimes a character wouldn’t have a point of view section for many chapters, and I’d have to take a minute to remember who they were and why they were important to the story.
Other than that, I found this to be an interesting take on vampires with the added twist of the research facility and their hope for finding “miracle cures.”